Posts tagged Christian athletes

Carson Palmer’s highlight reel



This weekend, Carson Palmer will lead his Arizona Cardinals against the Carolina Panthers for the right to represent the NFC in the 50th Super Bowl. It’s an unfulfilled dream of his 12-year NFL career.

“I don’t want to be done, watching football on Sundays, and saying I never got a chance to play in the Super Bowl,” Palmer said in a 2014 interview with USA Today. “That lingers, heavily. Not that that’s going to make me the man that I am or the father or the husband. That’s not going to define me. But I want to experience that. I want to experience a run — a chance where you just get hot and you hit the playoffs and you make one of those runs, those magical (runs). However long it lasts, I want to be able to experience that.”

Palmer has had one of those runs, one of those hot streaks during the 2015 season, despite ending the previous year rehabbing a re-torn ACL. So in a way, this season is already reaching a goal. But it’s not the ultimate goal.

In the middle of that quote from the 2014 USA Today interview, you can see that football is not at the center of who Carson Palmer is as a man. That is made even more clear in a current Dove Men+Care commercial making the rounds on TV and the Internet. Consider it Carson Palmer’s real highlight reel.

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“As a professional quarterback, there’s so much pressure and so much on your shoulders. When you come home, you just get to be dad and shut it off. I go to work as a football player, but I was put on this earth to be a father.

highlight reelThat final quote from the commercial makes it pretty clear that football is not at the center of his life. Actually, though, neither is his family. In an 2011 interview with Sports Spectrum, he revealed that his faith in Christ is at the core of his identity as a good man, husband, and father. He also talked about the influence of strong Christian mentors, like former longtime QB Jon Kitna.

Truth is, Palmer is not the only quarterback who claims Christ to lead his team to the NFL playoff’s this year. In fact, of the 12 teams that made it, at least half were led to the playoffs by those who profess Christ. Some may have a stronger testimony than others, but here are some of the notable ones:

And it’s not just the quarterbacks who are emerging as believers and good men. Many high-profile players are speaking out about their faith and their families. It’s great to see Dove and other companies holding these men up as examples through a highlight reel of what really matters in their lives. Hopefully during the playoffs and Super Bowl, we’ll see more great commercials like the one featuring Carson Palmer.

The making of a champion’s identity



SeahawksHelmetBallMost problems in our lives stem from lack of confidence, insecurity, and fears.  These trace back to something fundamental about our identity: we don’t truly know who we are … and whose we are.

Society makes it hard to figure that out because it defines success and identity by performance, popularity, and prosperity. The making of a champion is about more than that.

People worldwide obsess over pro sports (in the U.S. we pour $30 billion into four major sports!). The idolization and focus on pro athletes is intense. Imagine how easy it is for these athletes to wrap themselves in that identity — an identity which is volatile and will end quickly.

As a pro athlete, I went through that identity-shaking transition. It’s hard. I’ve seen a lot of NFL players deeply struggle with identity, but that struggle isn’t confined only to athletes. Outside sports, teenagers struggle, women struggle, men struggle.

That solution struggle for true identity is captured in a video recently forwarded to me by my son, Kory. In the video, several players and coaches from the Seattle Seahawks use their pro football platform to point others to the only ultimate solution in life for true identity — the great news of God’s love for us through Jesus.

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It is so cool to see these NFL guys realize that who they are is really defined by who God sees them to be. They explain from personal experience that there’s a bigger and better confidence than one based on success and circumstances … even when you’re living your dream as an NFL player.

This is a great video to share with sons or daughters about how to be a champion in life, in the deepest sense. You can share it with a buddy who loves football, but who doesn’t yet understand the love of God. Star quarterback Russell Wilson and others in the video talk football, and they talk life. They share that their identity and satisfaction doesn’t come from their accomplishments, but from their relationship with Christ. It comes from knowing Him, surrendering to Him, and knowing the truth about who He makes us to be.

Check out the whole video, but especially these keys to identity and fulfillment:

  • What it means to be a champion (3:25-4:40)
  • Making the pros doesn’t fulfill (4:56-5:58, 8:25-9:51)
  • Putting your confidence in a God who’s bigger than sports (9:52-11:20)
  • Using your profession as a platform (11:20-12:42)
  • Life in Christ fulfills, and how you can have a relationship with Christ (12:55-end)

Grasping our true identity is a key to facing life.  So, enjoy and share an inside look into the spiritual core of some children of God … who happen to play football in the NFL.

Jeff Kemp quarterbacked for eleven seasons in the NFL, and with the Seahawks from 1987-1991.

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